Posts Tagged ‘Upset The Rhythm’

Terry – “Take Me To The City”

Al Montfort’s (presumably) incredible case of insomnia pays off to the public with the announcement of a new Terry album on the way. The man can’t sleep, because when would he have time for all this quality writing, recording and playing if his eyes ever drooped? The band’s back with their cowboy shtick in tow and another song that’s packed with a sighed delivery that plays into the lyrical lean on escapism and living life pining for some excitement. While the ten gallon hats and city lights longing don’t quite make this their “Streets of Baltimore,” it’s a buzzing bit of Aussie new wave that’s picking up right where their eponymous LP left off. The video only serves to add to the tongue in cheek winks that seems to inhabit their very DNA, but serious or no, this takes its place on the highly anticipated list for 2017.

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Premiere: Rat Colums – “Blinded By The Shadow”

One of my true faves this year has been Rat Columns’ Candle Power LP on Upset The Rhythm. The band turns in a stark video for the absolute standout, “Blinded By The Shadow. The track eschews much of the album’s propensity for jangle in favor of slinking keys and staid bass line; by the time those melancholy strings kick in, you’re more than hooked. It’s a post-punk gem that calls back on all the right bits of the ’80s for inspiration and proves that West and co are truly hitting a peak with this album. The video is as appropriately dressed down as the track, whitewashed and buttoned up. If you’re still missing out on Rat Columns, take today to right that wrong.


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Feature

One of the best bands to bubble up from the UK underground in the past few years was the high energy DIY outfit Sauna Youth. As luck would have it the band’s Jen Calleja also sports another outfit in the form of Feature. The trio embraces DIY via a feminist punk vantage and they explore the vein of sexism that permeates female musicianship on the whip-smart Banishing Ritual. Baring a few more teeth than Sauna Youth – the record is rooted in pop but not afraid to get down into the din – flaunting noise as a formidable weapon in their arsenal. Popcorn drumbeats start the tempos skittering into motion, but the guitars don’t rush, finding themselves heavily indebted to Cold Wave and Post-punk’s motorik meets elastic tension.

The record has it’s hooks (plenty actually), but it’s more about setting a mood than lingering earworms here. The band drops in bracing and brash to catch your attention and then lays into the listener with a dose of consciousness and a distortion scrub to to strip away the clutter gunking up your life. There’s been a real return to form of ’90s grunge ethos in the past couple of years, heavy blasts of guitar masking nuggets of pop bubbling under the surface. Like their predecessors in Helium, The Muffs, The Wedding Present (during their Albini dalliance) or Elastica they know how to balance pressure, power and pop into a package that’s worth returning to again and again. Another winner this year from UK label Upset The Rhythm!




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Rat Columns

Rat Columns come out strong and swooning on their third album with a charming jangler that’s evoking all my ’80s crushes; from Field Mice to Razorcuts and The Sea Urchins. And with that one setting the tone, quickly followed by the equally hazy hummer “She Loves The Rain,” it feels like one could just buckle in for the kind of true to form homage to C86 that often graces the Captured Tracks or Slumberland back catalogs. However, those who know David West, know that he’s made a career of eclecticism and where he’s been finding his footing on the last few albums and EPs, here the band begins to nail down a record collector’s guide to what made the ’80s tick.

They trade jangles for a quickened pulse of post-punk augmented with soaring strings on “Blinded By The Shadow,” giving the album a subtle about face rolling into the its middle. They knock into Saint Etienne territory on the closer and head into sparse soundtrack work on the album’s title track. West has a true penchant for finding the guiding lines between genres and styles. Where others could easily get too ambitious with melding influences that don’t always click, he massages his songs into a persona that walks well in detached cool and romantic thrall. Perhaps the only part that gets away from him a bit is indulging the length of the aforementioned closer, “Dream Tonight.” The dance jolt is a nice note to end on but as a piece of the pie it could stand a bit of slimming. That aside, Candle Power feels like a real highpoint for West, and a perfect obsession for those of us who still need a dose of Thatcher-era pulse in our lives.

Check out the RSTB premiere of “She Loves The Rain” Below:



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Rat Columns – “Someone Else’s Dream”

David West’s Rat Columns have bounced around a slew of notable labels, from R.I.P. Society to Blackest Ever Black. Though the latter seemed odd for a jangle pop band, its just another testament to their quality output (and perhaps his time spent in Total Control). The band now finds a home at UK DIY label Upset The Rhythm and it seems like a pretty perfect fit. The first single from the band’s upcoming LP, Candle Power, is a sparkling piece of jangle pop bliss that sounds like it was ripped out of the catalogs of Razorcuts, Sea Urchins or early Go-Betweens. It’s completely swathed in a rosy glow that’s hard to shake long after the last chords come clanging to an end. A swooning organ adds just the right touch of fullness to the song’s strum laden lope, clipping along atop a drumbeat that urges listeners to dance uninhibitedly at every turn. Rat Columns have been bubbling at the edges of breaking out for a few years now, but with this album on the rise, it seems like 2017 might be the year they become a household name.

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Vexx – “Do What You Want To”

Olympia’s Vexx take on punk like it was just beginning to sprout legs. They’re cued into the kind of frantic tear that drove Television or The Voidoids, sure, but they seem to have locked into a slightly later vision that might encompass French upstarts The Dogs, UK nuggets The Only Ones or Canada’s undersung Teenage Head. Both M’ladys and Upset The Rhythm kicked out a previous release from the band, so this one comes to no shortage of baited breath, and with good reason. Solos flare, the vocals sneer and the band plays like they want listeners to buck some system, somewhere. Sure punk is dead, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all find solace in a good ole fashioned rocker now and again. Vexx are still pursuing that incendiary vision of punk you’ve read about and probably always thought existed as you embarked on your first DIY show. Maybe they prove its still possible to be vital. Maybe we kinda need them to. Mabye the pontificating doesn’t matter as much as the sweat drenched pummel of “Do What You Want To” in the end. Maybe we all need to just shut up and dance sometimes.

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Terry – “Hot Heads”

Aussie post-punk scrappers Terry have a new video for their cut “Hot Heads,” a standout from their recently released HQ. The track’s got a boatload of jangle and plenty of tension burbling in those tightly wound horns running underneath. Its a prime example of what makes their debut so endearing. The clip is basically the album cover come to life, watching the band watching themselves work through some line dance nostalgia that’s straight out of Footloose. Hell, if this had been the soundtrack to bootscootin’ maybe I would have paid more attention. If you’re not already on the Terry train (you should be) then now’s the time and below is the place. This is a constant on the RSTB headphones this year.


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